A fresh batch of applesauce cooking on the stove is a good start to surviving winter. I drove to Smyth’s Orchards last week, just down the road from where John Macintosh discovered and named the Macintosh apple. I got 3/4 of a bushel of Macs and their last 3/4 bushel of Cortlands. The mix makes the best applesauce ever. No sugar, no spice, just apples. I like doing up a few pots at a time for days so I can maximize the amount of time that the house smells like simmering apples. Not much can be amiss when hot applesauce is bubbling.
Envisioning yogurt helps too. I haven’t been able to make homemade yogurt for months. The house doesn’t stay warm enough in winter for the wrap the crock pot in towels overnight method. I am starting to pine for it. The first night above freezing and I’m going to give it a try. I spent my breakfast yesterday listening to the chatter with one ear and letting the rest of my brain imagine the taste and look of homemade yogurt.
Sunday afternoon I spent time reading about all the different friendly ways to kill things. I liked the word pictures about bowls of liquid full of those who have passed. The creatures pick a bad time to debut, just when your lagging, holding on to the hope of spring, they decide to invade. It’s a country life thing, the cluster flies, the Japanese beetles.The snow is still here. Spring still a dream, but they’ve started unpacking their suitcases and setting up shop for another season.
I watched some deer cross the road yesterday. They’re lagging too. I think the feeding station at the graveyard next door is keeping them going. I worry about the deer. Wonder if we should be putting hay out in the far field somewhere, or if if they’d even notice or care. I don’t share my ideas with my husband. The thought of paying money to put hay in an empty field for wild things his wife imagines are failing would stretch him beyond capacity.
Sunday afternoon I had agreed to paint. I can’t say I ever look forward to art, but once everything is out, the table is spread with things and there’s a paintbrush in your hand, it’s not so bad. We opted to produce companion pieces on trees not in winter. I could have painted lopsided trees for a long time. I felt hungry for leaves and grass. After that I was just happy putting color on scraps of paper while I waited for the girls to tire.
We’ll see how things go. I’m starting to picture newspaper taped all over the kitchen walls, me and the kids with big paint brushes and four or five shades of bright. Or maybe no kids, maybe it’ll be just me and the paint.
In our house, Surprise Ending plus Costumes = A Play. After hours of rehearsal, we were invited to the performance. (A welcome distraction from the problem of dead mice decomposing in bathroom wall.)
A fairy princess, a cow, and a wicked witch slid down the stairs on their bottoms with delight and a fair bit of speed. The cow watched from here on. Ten year old boy made introductions as follows. There are three characters in this place. A wicked witch – he pointed to girl one in the shredding Buzz Light Year costume wearing her straw Easter hat and holding a thin blue tube. A fairy princess – who is me, he said making his voice shrill and taking a curtsy. He had on black pants, a shiny blue cape, and the popcorn bucket from last year’s Hobbit movie on his head. There was a grand pause for effect. The fairy princess held a small hinged box (once home to a ring from a jeweller) in his hand. And . . . he opened the box slowly . . . in here . . . is the prince. The fairy princess came closer and we the audience could see a solitary Japanese beetle (looks a lot like a lady bug if you aren’t already acquainted with them trying to winter their villages in your house and woodshed). The fairy princess sighed. The prince will try to save the fairy princess from the wicked witch.
Conclusion – after dramatic attempts by the witch to catch spells, the fairy princess reached out and snapped her wand. The Japanese beetle prince was lured to the edge of the open box then brought to a fatal end with a quick slam of the ring box. The stunt failed the first time but pleased the witch, the fairy princess, and the watching cow quite well in the eventual finale. The prince dies trying to save the fairy princess, announced the happy princess.
(A door was needed. Audience was requested to change venues. Upstairs, the play continued.)
Archery sessions with various sundry patterns of arrow release-age followed by war hoops.
We were now told that girl two in the cow costume (with pink kilt) was actually a sheep. A ram to be exact. She lay very still and straight on the floor. It was requested that one of the audience members stand ready to open the bedroom door when directed. Boy two and girl one picked up the very straight, prone ram from the floor and ran with her towards the door as fast as they could.
Now, yelled boy two, his shiny blue magician’s cape flapping. My husband pushed the bedroom door open. The ram flew through and was summarily dropped onto waiting cushions on the other side.
“I was a battering ram,” said a proud girl two now allowed to speak and walk.
“Get it? A battering ram?” beamed boy two and girl one.
Misty the pony: extremely not impressed that we had her best friend shipped elsewhere. Not interested in speaking to humans. Will tolerate them if she gets to speak to an apple or a carrot.
Anabelle the cow: all the change in the air has made her pregnant self grumpy. She takes it out on the sheep. Grazing for a while, drive them all to the next field. Drive some more. Graze. Drive. My children do this to each other also except they don’t eat grass in between figuring out how to annoy each other.
Sheep (population 12) and Chickens (population 43) are happy and content. If it doesn’t work out to be a writer, I think I would like to be a sheep or a chicken.
Cluster flies (population 1500 plus in house alone): They are in their drunken buzzing phase, perpetually disoriented and therefore bumping into things like me. I love our farm. I love our province and our country . . . but boy do I hate those flies. Self calming now involves not only vacuuming them from the windows, but taping the hose nozzle on the vacuum after every killing spree – – otherwise I can’t stop picturing them inside mating like mad and then flying out in droves while I sleep. I look at the little Japanese beetles (population in house of at least 17 too many). . . who apparently aren’t actually Japanese but do belong to the beetle family . . . and I shake my head at how worthless they are. Like lady bugs but NOT lady bugs and they don’t even eat flies. Pathetic.
Rats (population unknown – closer to 0 than a month ago): seem to have either finally developed a taste for the poison we bought for them, or found other quarters. Either option suits us and the chickens they tried to move in with.